By Ruth Oketunde
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), said it will provide no fewer than 200,000 bed spaces for students in various tertiary institutions in the country.
Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, Chairman, TETFund Board of Trustees disclosed this in Abuja at agency 2020 Board Retreat for Research Grants.
The retreat has as theme: “Consolidating TETFund as a Model Intervention Agency for Nigeria’s Knowledge Economy”.
Ibrahim-Imam said the board was concerned with the issues of lack of adequate accommodation spaces and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in different tertiary institutions in the country.
“I am very particular about two critical areas, which is also of great concern to me and the Board of Trustees.
“These include the issue of accommodation and ICT, in spite various interventions by TETFund our tertiary institutions still have inadequate lecture theatres, research laboratories, hostels and ICT facilities.
“In the area of accommodation, it is a known fact that the number of bed spaces in our tertiary institutions is only 10 to 15 per cent of the students population.
“For example, the University of Abuja has a thousand bed spaces for thirty thousand students. Also, University of Calabar has two thousand bed spaces for fifty five thousand students. These amount to 3.3 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively.
“So, in the course of my tenure, I will ensure that we encourage the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education to go into public private partnership arrangement that at the end of the day, they will sign agreement that will transfer the ownership of the campuses from the private developer to the universities authorities,” he said.
The chairman said that TETFund planned to wire up all the tertiary institutions with ICT that would facilitate e-learning.
“If these were desirable or luxury before, then it has become essential due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we hope that this will encourage e-learning, e-libraries and if possible conduct e-examinations, as you cannot have meaningful researches anywhere, if you cannot log on to the internet,” he said.
Speaking, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, Executive Secretary, TETFund, said that the Fund recently established 12 Centres of Excellence, among others, within the country to promote research in various tertiary institutions across the country.
He added that two universities in each geo-political zones were selected and the agency was working on having additional centres in other universities 2021 while polytechnics and colleges of education will have theirs in the following years.